GPS units are essential for geocaching. Without a good GPS device, geocaching would be nearly impossible to do. You could play this game with paper maps, but it would be very time consuming and confusing. Anyway, when you want to indulge in this game you should know how to use your GPS model. Once you figure out the basics, you will be able to quickly find your cache and prizes while beating the competition.
What Is Geocaching?
Geocaching is simply a treasure hunting game where people search for hidden items by using their Geocaching GPS unit. This game has been around since the early 2000s and it really became popular between 2003 and 2005. Since that time, people continue to enjoy this experience. Geocaching has grown throughout the years and has become a dynamic game for people to enjoy.
How to Play Geocaching with GPS Device?
To play a game of geocaching you will have to register with a geocaching site. Once you are registered you will then be able to view the “Hide and Seek” pages. These pages are important to the game. They provide maps and coordinates to wear the caches are hidden by game sponsors or hosts.
Once you have this information you will need to enter it into your GPS device and go find the hidden items. You can also take pictures or draw out the maps. This will help you to get a better idea about where to find the hidden treasures. If you can find the hidden cache, you will need to sign the logbook. After you do this you are encouraged to share your geocaching adventure with other site members.
GPS Devices and GPS Enabled Phones or Tablets
GPS devices and GPS-enabled mobile phones or tablets are the equipment that will be used to play this game. You should also use your car because most of the caches will not be located near you. However, you can search for caches located near your residence by using your zip code when starting a new game. GPS enabled phones or tablets can also be used for this game. Download a good GPS app to use for your mobile device. Once you have the app installed on your phone, you can now use it to play the game.
Your GPS Device must have the ability to Load and Read Coordinates
Not all GPS units are the same. Some GPS units will show you a map of an area, but they don’t have features that will allow you to use coordinates. Loading coordinates into your device is the only way that you will be able to find caches. Now, you can copy the maps that you find on the “Hide and Seek” pages. However, it will only get you into a general area where the cache is located. You will need the coordinates to pinpoint the exact location of the hidden goodies. Make sure that your GPS device has the ability to load and read coordinates.
GPS Devices and Software
You can purchase or download software for your GPS device. This software will allow users to set pinpointed coordinates for a Hide and Seek map. This can be useful for helping a person to quickly reach an area where a cache is hidden. Remember, there might be some geocache games where you have to compete against other people or other teams. Sometimes, players will have to find a cache before the competition. This means that time is important. So, waypoints (pinpointed coordinates) are essential for helping players to quickly reach an area.
Keep in mind that advance level geocache players often hide their stashes in hard to find areas. The areas they choose still might be hard to reach even with accurate coordinates. There are some places around every city (or countryside) that can be difficult to locate because of the land formations, structures, or their position. GPS technology is good at tracking a lot of locations, but they do have blind spots. So, some geocache hosts or sponsors can use these blind spots to throw off players.
Remember, the coordinates can get you into an area near the cache but that doesn’t mean it will be directed where the coordinates meet. Having the waypoints will help you to quickly find what you’re searching for when your GPS has a blind spot. This is because the waypoints will be loaded onto your device. You can use them when your GPS unit is experiencing blind spots. They will also help you to locate hard to find objects within an area.
Here are the detailed video instructions on how to use GPS for geocaching:
How to Use Handheld GPS for Geocaching?
Players who participate in this game must use GPS technology to find objects. Participants who want to be good at this game must know how to use their handheld GPS units effectively to find caches. This is an important aspect of the game because sometimes players are required to find caches before other competitors. The information presented here will explain how to use a handheld GPS for geocaching.
Follow your GPS Directions
GPS units and software will provide players with directions to reach caches. Players should follow these directions and not dismiss them. If a player knows an area very well, they might not need to follow the directions on their GPS. However, the GPS instructions are best used for finding most caches. Players should make sure that they are frequently checking their coordinates as they move toward their goal.
Keep in mind that your GPS unit doesn’t always update changes in an environment. If a road is suddenly closed or a landmark is no longer present; it might not show up on a GPS unit. Players should be mindful of these inconveniences because they do exist.
Your GPS Unit’s Primary Job is to Place you Close to the Cache
Don’t forget that caches come in different sizes. Some are micro and others are large. Again, your GPS unit’s job is to place you in the general area of the cache. You will then need to know how to read a map (Hide and Seek page) or following instructions for finding the cache. Sometimes, your GPS unit can lead you to the exact spot where the cache is hidden. However, this is the exception and not the rule.
The main thing to watch out for is sudden changes in an environment. Be careful of false coordinates. Sometimes, people hide caches, and they don’t record the right coordinates. This can cause you to search for hours for a cache that is not located in the area. It has happened. Players sometimes make mistakes when entering coordinate numbers into their devices. This action can also throw a game off. Just make sure your GPS device is accurate and has updated mapping information. Having an optimized GPS unit will help to make your game playing experience more effective and fun.
Here are the guides on exactly how to use handheld GPS for geocaching:
How to Use iPhone GPS for Geocaching?
Most official Geocaching applications tend to be relatively expensive; however, there are some applications that use your iPhone GPS for geocaching, and they tend to be relatively affordable. In this section, we shall be taking you through some of the best applications you can use with your iPhone GPS for geocaching.
However, you should note that some of these applications are equipped with features that are not found in other apps. For instance, one of the apps might allow you to download a map so that you can have access to a cache without an internet connection. This is perfect for use, especially when geocaching in remote areas.
On the other hand, some applications have been designed to make it easy to filter caches that you see on your screen and hide the ones which you have ignored or have placed there yourself. Furthermore, it might highlight ones that you would like to take a closer look at afterward.
Some of the geocaching applications that tend to have better features which are relatively affordable include;
Cachly is an incredible geocaching application with a close resemblance to the official geocaching application. The best part of using this application is that it does not feature a monthly payment, and it features caches logging, which is relatively easy with templates. In addition to that, its filtering option allows you to hide certain types of caches, and it works best with the iPhone as well as Apple watches.
Unlike the official Geocaching app, the Cachly application requires a one-time payment, which allows you to get features such as offline vector maps, advanced searching ability as well as lists.
When viewing a certain cache using Cachly, you might consider using a menu button and choose Find Cache Near This. It is an essential feature that allows you to quickly search for more caches that are within a reasonable distance from the one which you are currently working on.
The geoCaches app is relatively easy to operate geocaching applications compared to other apps available. This app is relatively easy it uses, and it does not include several settings; therefore, choosing how to operate it is basically straightforward.
Despite the fact that this application is relatively easy to use, you will not find lots of customization options. Whenever you tap a cache on a map, it will show S, D, T in a pop-up box. These letters refer to size, difficulty, and terrain, respectively. When the number is low, it indicates that the cache is relatively small as well, or it might be less difficult to locate.
You might as well tap on a cache to get more information and show description, logbook as well as the available hints. However, this app does not feature lots of settings; this means that the only changes you will be able to make are on the map type such as terrain and satellite, hide/show the found caches, hide/show caches which are inactive as well as filter results for difficult, size as well as terrain.
Despite being an incredible application, you cannot turn on the notification for each cache using a global setting when using it. However, you will have to access a particular information box for a cache and then turn on Notify me in the 300m zone.
Geosphere tends to be a less elegant application compared to the official geocaching app. You will be able to add cache from within this application via a built-in web browser. However, usability, along with the interface of this particular solution, tends not to be the best. Usually, it often works better compared to leaving the app; however, it remains to be a flawed way of adding your caches.
This application is not equipped with an in-built map, and it is optimized to aid in finding the downloaded caches. The geosphere will help you understand the way in which you can use it using hot to use videos. You can access these videos with the utmost ease within the application.
Furthermore, this app comprises five individual tabs at the bottom, including Target, GPS, Data, and Search, among others. The GPS will help in showing you your current location and the right direction to follow in order to get the cache. In addition to that, the view will give access to a map that is well implemented. This offers a way in which you will continually see your route and your current location.
The map will provide you with options to choose between satellite, map, or a hybrid model. On the other hand, the target area will give you access to all the essential information you will require to know more about the cache. The search tab will allow you to search all your downloaded cache, while the data tab will help you download all the new cache on your iPhone. Generally speaking, this application is excellent, and it tends to be a better option than the original geocaching app due to its ability to load up cache efficiently.
There is no doubt that the original Geocaching app tends to be relatively expensive for some individuals. However, you can always choose one of the above-discussed apps since they are not only practical but also relatively affordable.
What Devices Are the Best For Geocaching?
What to Look For in a Geocaching GPS?
Using geocaching devices can make your experience better than the use of your smartphones. Here are things to look for in a geocaching GPS device.
Due to advancements in technology many GPS units, these days now have 12 parallel channels. The advancement of the GPS units has made it easier for that geocaching because finding geocaches with the many channels is simple. For those considering older GPS devices go for models manufactured after 1997. The older GPS receivers, with a single channel, are slower, and they may not be detailed and efficient.
External Antenna Jack
With the evolution of GPS devices, the external jack has become outdated because the latest chips are good enough to receive signals in your car. Nevertheless, obtaining good satellite coverage through a front windshield is not likely and this is where an external antenna jack can be of importance. Backpackers also benefit a lot because they can safely carry the receiver in their pack with the antenna mounted to their backpack straps mostly near the shoulders. In places where signals are weak like heavy tree cover, the external antenna can be of great assistance.
Although with a minimal additional cost, the base map is highly suggested. It offers increased usefulness in the equipment. This feature offers driving directions to the area near a cache and so one should think about having it in the device.
This is used to pile waypoints, topographic maps, and street-level maps into the receiver. The internal storage should be highly considered as the detailed maps use a lot of memory on your device. The higher-end devices support additional storage by use of a memory card.
Having a device that can support external power is highly recommended. On the account of the power demands the device should support standard batteries for easy replacement. In order for the latest GPS types for lengthy battery power, lithium batteries are highly advocated. Rechargeable batteries should also be considered.
Rocker Keypad or Touchscreen
A rocker keypad is very useful to a receiver because it works as a mouse and without it would be extremely impossible to use a receiver appropriately. Having some newer GPS units with touchscreen, the navigation on the maps is easier than before.
A large portable screen is highly recommended that it is not difficult for one to use. The measuring of the screen should be done diagonally. Another aspect you should consider is the color as it helps interpret map features. Also to prevent scratches on the screen out on the trail the use of a screen protector is important.
Getting a device that is at least water-resistant is very advisable for your device may be accidentally submerged and you will end up incurring extra cost. Although an IPX7 design can save you up to 30 minutes, the use of boxes and plastic bags are advised for extra protection.
Most high-end GPS devices now have functionality features designed for geocaching and can store information. There are even some that store drafts that assist you to log your caches after a search.
When using a receiver with a computer make sure you use an interface cable so you can load waypoints and maps onto your device quickly. The latest GPS units aid USB whereas the older ones are serial attached supported. When you buy an outdated GPS device and the latest computer, you need to get a USB to serial port adapter too.
Extra Geocaching Features
Some geocaching GPS devices offer extra features, especially for geocaching, and the ability to keep track of field notes and cache locations. Although there are GPS devices that have the extra features, the cheaper ones are not specifically made for geocaching.
Most geocaching GPS devices are not touchscreen; they only have topographic maps that allow them to connect with other geocachers. The cheaper devices are easier to use although only include a base map. With this, you will have to pay to download and install topographic maps.
Considering the weight of your geocaching devices should be one of the things geocachers should consider so as to be able to move around freely and for a long period of time.
The geocachers also need to carry with them food, water, and other emergency supplies for they will be outdoors a long period of time so their devices should not be of much weight.
Longer Battery Life
The GPS devices offer a long-lasting battery life compared to a smartphone that will drain faster as it is not designed to support the GPS for a longer period. For a better experience, you should save the power of your smartphone for emergencies and find a GPS device that can last longer for a great geocaching experience.
For that geocaching to be able to download and store maps, they have to get the recent GPS devices that are made for geocaching. With the help of this GPS device, you can be able to use the space on your smartphone for your day to day activities.
Ability to Disconnect
The GPS devices give you the ability to disconnect from the world and still maintain your location. The many notifications of everyday life such as from Facebook and Instagram won’t disturb you while you are geocaching.
Advanced GPS Features for Geocaching
Your GPS unit can come with advanced features. These features could include functions such as:
It is for measuring air pressure and gauging weather. This is a useful tool for geocaching in wide-open landscapes.
It is to keep track of direction in the event your GPS unit fails or is not working properly.
This function is used for transmitting information to different players or teammates.
It is to help you find different locations that might not show up on the GPS unit.
For communicating with nearby players or teammates.
This will allow you to take pictures that can be used to validate your cache finds. You can also use it to highlight your adventure.
Advanced features simply allow you to play this game more effectively and more efficiently.
Geocaching is a fun and brave games that you can play with your friends, a good tool can be a good helper on the way, no matter for geocaching or your iPhone. If you still have trouble in finding the best GPS device for geocaching, check our reviews on: